Could affection be a curatorial assumption for bringing together sixty-four artists and around 130 works of art in an exhibition? The “Casa do Céu” (House in the Sky) exhibition bets so. The show is organized around a photograph by the artist Rochelle Costi (1961-2022) that records a small orange house installed on top of a building, with an intense blue sky in the background. “From the photo, Vermelho looked at the sky, at the clouds (…) to bring together creators from several generations, to become a constellation of affections with artists who passed through Vermelho in some way, or whose ideas echoed through the gallery in its twenty-one years of operation,” the gallery’s exhibition text says. Due to its scale and amplitude, the exhibition is born as an anthology. With an immense constellation of works and artists, it is also a gesture of tribute to Rochelle Costi as well to all the artists who, in some way, contributed to the history of the gallery.
In entering the exhibition spaces, we are surprised by the dense arrangements and walls lined with works of art. Contrary to the standards of most contemporary exhibitions in the city (with their pristine displays in sometimes dry as well as rigorous arrangements), affection, in fact, becomes the great motor of this show. The abundance of works on all sides may lead us, at first, to the memory of the art salons of the nineteenth century, a reference that dissipates as we go through the encounters, fictions, oppositions and dialogues that the combination of so many works and subjects provides. This is a rare moment when we can see so many different generations and works side by side, encounters that fortuitously generate incredible microcosms and a sense of breadth rarely seen. “Casa do Céu” forms assemblages of affections, subjectivities, friendships, admiration and homage, taking a risk by offering a challenging freshness within the market circuit. And in doing so, the show reveals an unvarnished portrait of the gallery’s own driving spirit.
From the contrast of the orange and blue colors present in the “Casa do Céu” photograph by Rochelle, to the shades, forms and arrangements of the works and their concepts, to the challenge of seeking a curatorial through line and becoming frustrated in not seeing it clearly, we let ourselves wander among the countless surprises and unexpected encounters moved by the coexistence of those artworks—a reality which otherwise would never occur. We may feel disoriented, yes, but to then finally understand that the whole show may work as a polyhedric metaphor: one that reminds us that we are all part of many assemblages and constellations, of stories, disagreements, clashes and affections that compose an ongoing plot, one that is always built by many hands.
“Casa do Céu” at Galeria Vermelho
Rua Minas Gerais, 350, 01244-010, São Paulo
On view through August 5